In response to the latest wave of concern about Portland’s air quality, The Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), in collaboration with Portland Clean Air, has developed a user-friendly presentation about how citizens can research:

 > who their nearby air polluting industries are

 > which government agencies issue permits to their operations

 > how to obtain those permits

 > what hazardous materials they have on-site and what toxics they emit

 > what to do once you have the data

The presentation runs about 30 minutes and comes with a guide put out by Portland Clean Air.

Please let us know if you are interested in hearing this presentation at your next gathering. Contact Alma Velazquez : advelazquez@comcast.net.

—————–

April/May Update:

Forum in Central Northeast Neighborhoods this summer.

The Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD), Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are collectively working to investigate sites in Portland with high arsenic levels detected in the initial, experimental, moss testing method reported in late February. The agencies developed a method to decide which locations to investigate first, using relevant air toxics data and information about vulnerable populations. Here is the set of criteria by which agencies will prioritize hot spots identified in U.S. Forest Service moss studies for further investigation (CNN had 3 hot spots). Current projections are that validated information from the US Forest Service moss study will be available this summer. DEQ and its partner agencies plan to update the public in a central northeast, multi-neighborhood forum sometime this summer, possibly in July. Look to the Central Northeast Neighbors website for announcements regarding the investigation plan, and for the date and location of the forum. Until the forum, look to the joint DEQ/Oregon Health Authority (OHA)/MCHD website: <http://saferair.oregon.gov<http://saferair.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx>> and for more information this multi-agency report: <http://public.health.oregon.gov/newsadvisories/Documents/se-portland-metals-emissions-physician-guidance.pdf>.

from David Gates of Rose City Park NA

Portland State University, the city of Portland and Multnomah County announced plans to spend $125,000 on a two-year study of the city’s toxic air pollution.

—————–

March Update:

Following the February meeting at Tubman, we have continued to follow the story of air quality in regards to the neighborhoods part of Central Northeast Neighbors.

Thus far, the greater attention has been on the neighborhoods in North and Southeast Portland affected by Bullseye Glass and Uroboros Glass. As local and statewide attention has turned to these two plants, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been struggling to keep up with increased interest in air quality.

Moss testing has known for years to be an effective test for air quality, but Oregon DEQ described it at community meetings as an innovation they have struggled to keep up with. Oregonlive’s map shows 3 major hotspots in the CNN area. While the Owen’s Brockway glass plant off of Killingsworth and 92 doesn’t make colored glass, a process that used cadmium at other plants, CNN residents are still concerned about arsenic and other metal pollutants found in the neighborhood. Portland State University Professor Linda George suggests that one option for concerned residents could be testing their soil. Anyone who does test their soil should share their results with her and the DEQ to determine if further tests in the area are needed.

CNN will continue to track the issue and offer updates as they are available. CNN neighborhood leaders are in communication with local agencies and Cully leaders sent a letter to the Governor to take action.

By Andrés Oswill, MURP

CNN LUTOP student intern

 

——————-

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) are working to investigate concerns about arsenic levels in five Portland neighborhoods. Carcinogenic metals were found in tree moss around Portland, with cadmium found near stained glass manufacturers Map. The map shows 3 hotspots in CNN neighborhoods. The most concentrated sits in Rose City Park around NE 52nd Ave.  Another is based along Sandy Blvd. and I-205 by Sumner. The last is on Columbia and NE 52nd largely in the Cully Neighborhood.

Both glass factories identified as potential sources of carcinogenic metals have voluntarily suspended use of cadmium and arsenic. Both companies were complying with legal regulations, but changed their practices once the information emerged. The state DEQ has released a Frequently Asked Questions sheet to help give more information, and a new group the Eastside Air Coalition emerged in response to the high levels of toxic metals discovered. They are visiting different neighborhood associations to talk about the concerns, and you can learn more about their upcoming activities on their events page. Neighbors for Clean Air-What’s in our Air has been actively working on community advocacy and policy to improve air quality in Portland for several years now. Also, The Cully and Rose City Park Neighborhoods are investigating and discussing the recent concerns at their meetings and plan to take action.

By Andrés Oswill, MURP

CNN LUTOP student intern